What is a technical architect (duties and career guide)?

Updated 6 June 2023

The role of a technical architect involves bridging the gap between the technical and non-technical sides of a company. If you have a proficient understanding of technology and want to work in a managerial role, you may find a career as a technical architect rewarding. Learning the answer to ‘What is a technical architect?' is important when determining whether this career path is right for you. In this article, we discuss what a technical architect is, the responsibilities of the role and how to become one.

What is a technical architect?

The answer to 'What is a technical architect?' is an IT professional who implements technologies and helps with the creation of technological designs for a company. When companies take on a new technology project, a technical architect provides advice on the IT aspects and helps key figures determine how to deliver the product or service. They typically concentrate on one particular aspect of a system at a time.

Technical architects oversee IT projects from start to finish, meaning they communicate with various people within a company. This includes managers, design teams, developers, stakeholders and senior management. To perform their job, technical architects require proficient knowledge of local and cloud-based infrastructures. They first visualise a concept before managing all activities that lead to the successful creation of a new technology product. Most technical architects work in large organisations within the IT department. Others choose to work for third-party IT firms and complete assignments for a wide range of business clients.

Related: 12 popular jobs in architecture (with salaries and duties)

What does a technical architect do?

The main responsibilities of a technical architect are to lead others towards the successful implementation of an IT application and ensure a company's technical abilities facilitate and run smoothly alongside business operations. Technical architects who work within a company rather than an IT firm are likely to have more duties and a different daily routine. The duties of a technical architect are also dependent on their experience level. Some general responsibilities include:

  • identifying and troubleshooting technical problems in existing or new systems

  • facilitating relationships with indirect stakeholders

  • advising senior management on how to plan for their future technology needs

  • ensuring systems meet security and quality standards

  • consulting the design team and designing patterns

  • explaining plans regarding a product or service to developers and designers

  • defining best practices and standards to development teams

  • monitoring and reporting progress back to clients or managers

  • assessing the risks of an IT project and offering different approaches

  • working alongside clients or managers to understand their IT requirements

  • recording the steps and decisions made throughout a project

  • breaking down project requirements into manageable pieces of work

  • organising the workloads of technical teams to ensure they meet set deadlines

  • identifying hardware and software requirements for new projects

  • informing teams on the associated risks of specific software

  • working on application deployment

  • creating technical strategies that meet client requirements

  • using on-premise and cloud-native infrastructures to support IT developments

  • comparing standard solutions to new ones when building new IT systems

  • acting as a messenger for project delivery managers and technical teams

How do technical architects differ from solutions architects and enterprise architects?

Some companies use ‘technical architect' as an umbrella term to encompass more specific architectural roles within the same field, such as solutions architect or enterprise architect. Otherwise known as software architects, technical architects take more of a hands-on approach when compared to other architectural roles. They have more practical duties and direct involvement in the production of IT projects. Technical architects usually focus on one single implementation at a time and have expertise in a particular domain. They determine best practices for other technical teams and report on their progress to enterprise or solution architects.

In contrast, solution architects have a more senior role and often oversee entire projects rather than individual components. Their role is similar to that of a project manager in that they liaise with external stakeholders and ensure a project continues to move in the right direction. Enterprise architects have the most responsibility as they pull together general business and IT operations. They identify business needs and ensure their IT landscape stays above competitors in the field. Enterprise architects may also analyse current technology trends and advancements to inform new IT projects and create information technology roadmaps for teams to follow.

Technical architect salary

The average salary of a technical architect is £72,719 per year. As a technical architect, your salary expectations may vary according to your geographical location, experience and education level, what company you work for and your professional development. It's important to include commutable locations when searching for a role as a technical architect as this may increase your job prospects and salary expectations.

How to become a technical architect

A technical architect is a senior role that requires you to reach a certain level of education and experience. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a technical architect:

1. Earn a degree

An undergraduate degree is typically a minimum prerequisite for aspiring technical architects. Many hiring managers seek candidates who also have a postgraduate degree. Consider earning a degree in a relevant discipline, such as:

  • computer science

  • software development

  • business information systems

  • mathematics

  • computer engineering

  • information management systems

These degree schemes provide you with the necessary technical knowledge and other relevant capabilities such as risk management. The education requirements for these courses vary between universities, so be sure to conduct research before applying to ensure you're eligible. In almost all cases, universities expect you to obtain two to three A levels or equivalent qualifications for entry. Once you complete your undergraduate degree, consider a master's degree in technical architecture or a related field for a higher chance of securing a position.

2. Consider degree apprenticeships

It's possible to become a technical architect through vocational courses, although this is often a more competitive route. A degree apprenticeship allows you to learn through hands-on experience and earn a wage at the same time. You can receive training as a digital and technology solutions professional and then apply for other degree apprenticeships at the postgraduate level. A digital and technology solution specialist degree apprenticeship is the most suitable option for aspiring technical architects.

3. Gain experience

When you complete your university degree or degree apprenticeship, search for entry-level vacancies in the field. Expand your search to include jobs in areas such as programming, systems development and software testing. Some companies allow you to climb the career ladder and progress into the technical architect role. This is especially the case if the company offers internal training opportunities and usually hires employees through internal promotions.

When you attend your interview, consider asking the hiring manager whether there are any opportunities for promotion if it's not already stipulated in the job description. Many employers searching for technical architects look for candidates who have a broad understanding of available technologies and current advancements. They also look for demonstrable experience of working with clients.

Related: How to write an architect CV (with template and example)

4. Develop your skills

Many successful technical architects develop their skills through education and experience. It's important that you're aware of the skills you require so you can highlight them on your CV and search for vacancies that allow you to demonstrate them. Some essential technical architect skills include:

  • Communication skills: As a technical architect, you'd listen to clients or managers to understand their IT requirements. It's important for you to feel competent in explaining technical concepts to non-technical employees in a simplistic manner.

  • Management skills: You may require experience in project management and information management for success in this role. This is because you'd require proficiency in common project management methods and practices such as PRINCE2 and Agile.

  • Time management skills: As a technical architect, you'd work within tight deadlines to deliver projects on time. Missing deadlines can have significant consequences for your client, team and the organisation you work for.

  • Problem-solving skills: Anticipating problems and accounting for associated risks is an essential part of the technical architect role. You'd identify where problems might arise and provide solutions for them, eliminating the chances of disruption throughout project development.

Related: A guide to the 7 Cs of communication

5. Consider earning chartered status

It isn't necessary to achieve chartered status as a technical architect but doing so can boost your earning potential and employability when applying for new jobs. The Intermediate Certificate in Enterprise and Solutions Architecture from The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) is a professional accreditation suitable for technical architects. The certification consists of a three-day course administered by an approved training provider and applies to those who have at least three years of experience in any technical architecture role, including enterprise and solutions.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌


  • How to become a technical architect (with responsibilities)

  • 41 technical architect interview questions (and answers)

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